THE QUINTESSENTIAL afternoon tea is up there with the best of British past times.

Combine that with literacy history and the high society of central London and you have Mr Ma’s Afternoon Tea in Bloomsbury.

In an era of pop-up and immersive dining you are only ever a stones throw from an afternoon tea offer in the country’s capital.

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But nestled away from the bustle, in its own little calming oasis is the befitting courtyard at The Academy Hotel London, itself discreetly disguised as a collection of elegant Georgian townhouses.

Anyone opting for afternoon tea is almost always hoping for an afternoon of high class and pretentiousness in a way that lives up to the British stereotype perfectly conveyed in sitcoms such as Keeping Up Appearances.

Ultimately tea, scones and an array of fancy finger food, washed down with a glass of champers, is not your finest delicacies on offer in London. But with The Academy’s take on Mr Ma’s Afternoon Tea this can be forgiven.

Oxford Mail:

The Alice in Wonderland type tableware preciously decorated sandwiches, cakes and scones is befitting for all afternoon expectations.

But what makes it different from all the incredibly easy-to-come-by afternoon teas.

This spread is inspired by Chinese author Lao She’s novel, Mr Ma and Son - a wonderful nod to the areas links with literacy.

The novel draws on the writer’s experience of arriving in 1920s London and navigating the daily struggles of taking on an antique shop in the area.

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A continuous theme throughout is the home comforts sought from traditional Chinese teas providing solace amid the London hustle.

The Jing Tea selection on the menu was a delightful offering among them Jade Sword, Oolong and my choice the Mr Ma’s Special Blend - a pleasant blend.

Then scrummy ginger and cinnamon scones with more than enough clotted cream and jam for those with a sweet tooth. A selection of British sandwiches including my first coronation chicken which was a crowd pleaser, although the traditional egg was the favourite.

Oxford Mail:

The Chinese additions of egg tarts and sesame Jian Dui dough balls weren’t to my taste, bending the rules of afternoon tea slightly too far for my inexpert tastebuds.

But the mini cakes, pastries and meticulous macaron selection more than made up for it.

Prices from £25pp, and it is available seven days a week between noon and 6pm.

Bloomsbury Sparkling Wine or Gin Afternoon Tea also available for an extra £10 per person. Rooms at The Academy Hotel start from £300.

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